T-Mobile Moves Signify iPhone Push
May 8, 2012

T-Mobile Moves Signify iPhone Push

Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com

It seemed like a gamble at the time, a gamble only then-Cingular / The NEW AT&T was willing to take. But, going on five years later and more than 100 million phones sold, carriers without the iPhone are feeling rather left out.

For example, when the iPhone 4S was released last fall, Sprint agreed, up front, to spend $20 billion on 30 million iPhones just to have the pleasure.

Now, the only carrier of the big American 4 without the iPhone is shifting its spectrum and signing 4G contracts in what looks like a last-ditch push to be able to offer its customers the iPhone. For all the work they´re doing, however, T-Mobile has yet to announce any official partnerships with Apple.

"Big Pink" announced their plans for a large, $4 billion LTE rollout to be completed by 2013. Part of this money and spectrum, of course, came from their failed buy-out by AT&T which left the Deutsche Telekom company with $3 billion and $1 billion worth of spectrum.

To build out the technology necessary to deliver this spectrum, T-Mobile announced it has signed contracts with Sony Ericsson and Nokia Siemens. As a part of this agreement, Sony and Nokia will provide and install state-of-the-art equipment at 37,000 cell sites in T-Mo´s 4G network. Customers could start to feel these benefits in their 4G handsets as soon as this year.

"We're making great progress on our four billion dollar 4G network transformation," said Neville Ray, T-Mobile chief technology officer, in a press release.

“With these partners on board and the AT&T AWS spectrum secured, we're on track to enhance our 4G experience this year and deliver nationwide LTE in 2013."

What makes this move interesting, however, is the spectrum T-Mo plans to use in this roll-out.

Ray also mentioned during an evening dinner at CTIA that T-Mobile will use 1900 MHz spectrum for their 4G rollout, thus making it compatible with iPhone´s 4G-ish speeds.

“As part of the company´s network modernization effort, T-Mobile also plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year,” the press release continues.

“Rolling out 4G HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band will also provide customers with the ability to use a broader range of devices, including the iPhone, on T-Mobile´s 4G network.”

T-Mobile has been on the outside of the iPhone fun looking in from day one, and even though they report having more than 1 million unlocked iPhones running on their networks, that didn´t stop the company from blaming the Apple phone for their losing 700 thousand subscribers to other iPhone capable carriers.

While these moves appear to be a push to make Big Pink look more appealing to Apple, Ray is still playing coy when it comes to directly admitting the company is wanting to be welcomed into Apple´s good graces.

“It would make sense, (but) we´re not there yet.”